It's funny how I keep coming back to the same questions:
#1 - What am I going to do with my career?
#2 - Why share art?
I had an amazing time last weekend at the Streetwise Art Gallery at the second Annual People's Arts Festival. I got to meet Joe Crachiola and got to see VATO, A. Owen Layne, DVS, Eric Cain (the newest member of the Mid West Society of Erotic Photography), Gary Mitchell, Iris Dassault, RJ Berry, Mary40 an Mr. and Mrs. BT Charles!
While there I had a very long conversation with BT and his wife and it really inspired me. I mentioned to BT that I was really struggling with where to go with my art for a few reasons. First and most importantly, I'm head over heels in love with a man whom I want to spend the rest of my life. This is fantastic! Not through anything that he has ever asked of me, this is all completely something that I've been experiencing on my own and it's really very strange for me to say, but...
I don't want to share myself in any way with anyone else. Why is this strange? I've always been very open about everything in my life, whether it was sexual or not. I remember telling my mom that I wasn't a virgin anymore after about a year or two and my mom's response was, "Yeah... duh..." Hell, my dad even helps me matte and frame my art. So what's the problem? Well, I wouldn't call it a "problem" but it is a new emotion that I am experiencing... and I think it's modesty.
Erotica is a very personal thing for people to share... when you're looking at my photographs you are spying in on my dreams, curiousities, fantasies and even my quirkiness. Every time one of my pieces goes up on a wall, other people get to walk by and be a virtual voyeur into what is sexy to me and that is so very surreal. I have always loved watching people walk by my stuff and whispering and pointing to it. I love invoking reactions because it's a way of communicating without saying a word to them.
There's nothing new or kinky in my repertoire of fantasies (though there are definitely some things that haven't made it to print yet!), so what's my deal? Well... when I began, many of my portraits were of myself because I didn't have any one else to pose for me. I was too shy to ask others to model and even these days it's sometimes difficult to ask others, so I often default to just posing myself. There is also an advantage to posing in your own photographs because then you can feel like you are really emoting and expressing what it is that you want to share... versus trying to express it to a model, who will then express it to your audience.
But now? I don't know... I don't want anyone to see me in that way, but him. So, for now, the way around it is to work with other models... certainly no shame in that.
The other question is... why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep sharing my art? I've already partially answered this in this post, when referring to those who walk by and point to my work and smile. However, here's the sidebar to this question... when I was walking through the Streetwise Gallery, I was saying, "Yep... that's definitely a Frank Piccolo, definitely a Dave Levingston, definitely and Irakly Shanidze, definitely a Patty Izzo..." and so forth. It seems like every artist has their own style, or better stated, signature. I'm not sure that I do. I don't know if that's because I'm still so new to all of this or if it's because I just don't have one "style." I'm not even sure this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I think there is part of me that wants people to walk by and say, "Yeah... that's definitely a Lisolette Gilcrest." Like many others, I want to be able to leave my mark on the world.
BT and his wife had many kind words for me and some great advice... they (and others in the past have) said that "there's just something" about my work that draws them back. After the show, one of the aforementioned visitors sent me a message to say, "There is something very unique about your photos and I can't really put a finger on it at the moment... but... I like them very much. At any rate you are gutsy and I like it."
So what is this "something?!?" I feel like Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas trying to bottle the magic. BT's advice? "Stop trying. Stop thinking. Just keep doing what you're doing, because it's great." That felt so nice to hear and reminded me all over again why I love him so much. Not just because he said something nice, but his sage wisdom and his very daoist worldview.
So where does that leave me? Well, I have several shoots scheduled with brand new model collaborators over the next few weeks, including one tomorrow... so stay tuned!